Environmental Factor, February 2007, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
New Monthly Nanotechnology Seminar Series Begins
By Robin Mackar
On January 18, nearly 500 people attend the first NIEHS "Risk-e-Learning" monthly web seminar on "Nanotechnology - Applications and Implications for Superfund." The series addresses the increasing use of nanotechnology additives and products and the growing interest among scientists and concerned citizens in safety-related research on nanomaterials.
The debut session featured Nigel Walker, Ph.D., of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and Nora Savage, Ph.D., of the EPA Office of Research and Development. Walker discussed both the progress and the challenges that confront environmental medicine and nanomaterials. Walker emphasized that all nanomaterials are not the same and make up a truly a diverse class of materials. The session covered definitions, forms and uses of nanotechnology and provided an overview of efforts underway by NIEHS, NTP and EPA to characterize the risks these materials may pose.
The NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP) is sponsoring the interactive web-based series as part of an ongoing collaboration with the EPA. Each monthly online seminar will highlight the potential of nanotechnology to support characterization and remediation of hazardous waste sites, as well as explore the potential risks of this new class of compounds.
SBRP Director William Suk, Ph.D., who was the moderator of the first event, was gratified by the response to the first seminar and anticipates even greater participation as the series continues. "Environmental experts, regulators and the general public are eager to learn as much as they can about what impact nanomaterials will have on their work and lives," he said. "We are in a unique position to provide the best information currently available."
Further information and the schedule for the monthly web seminar are available online. The Weekly Scientific Events e-mail messages will also include announcements of upcoming seminars.